Sunday, August 31, 2014

Invitation to Youth

Young people, all attention give,
While I address you in God’s name.
You who in sin and folly live,
Come, hear the counsel of a friend.
I’d sought for bliss in glitt’ring toys
And ranged the luring scenes of vice;
But never knew substantial joys,
Until I heard my Savior’s voice.

He spake at once, my sins forgiv’n,
And washed my load of guilt away.
He gave me glory, peace, and heav’n,
And thus I found the heav’nly way.
And now with trembling sense I view
The billows roll beneath your feet,
For death eternal waits for you,
Who slight the force of gospel truth.

Youth, like the spring, will soon be gone,
By fleeting time or conqu’ring death;
Your morning sun may set at noon,
And leave you ever in the dark.
Your sparkling eyes and blooming cheeks
Must wither like the blasted rose;
The coffin, earth, and winding sheet
Will soon your active limbs enclose.

Ye heedless ones who wildly stroll,
The grave will soon become your bed,
Where silence reigns and vapors roll
In solemn darkness ’round your head.
Your friends will pass this lonesome place
And with a sigh move slowly on
Still gazing on the spires of grass,
With which your graves are overgrown.

Your souls will land in darker realms,
Where vengeance reigns and billows roar,
And roll amid the burning flames,
When thousand thousand years are o’er.
Sunk in the shades of endless night,
To groan and howl in endless pain,
And never more behold the light,
And never, never rise again.

Ye blooming youth, this is the state
Of all who do free grace refuse;
And soon with you ’twill be too late
The way of life and Christ to choose.
Come, lay your carnal weapons by,
No longer fight against your God,
But with the gospel now comply,
And heav’n shall be your great reward.

This hymn may have first appeared in Starke Dupuy’s Hymns and Spiritual Songs, though I haven't seen a copy. It appeared in Joseph Hillman's The Revivalist in substantially the same form as above. We sing it in The Sacred Harp to the tune MISSION (p. 204. 1991, 2007 & 2012 editions).

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